Prof.P.N.Oak of New Delhi, put forward a theory in 1965 that the Taj Mahal was not a mausoleum built by Shahjahan but a Rajput Palace. In 1968 he found a confession to that effect in Shahjahan's official chronicle Badshahnama and in 1974 he came across Au rangzeb's letter of 1652 [the year when Taj Mahal is supposed to have been just completed] complaining that Taj Mahal was leaking all over. In 1978 I read his extended book The Taj Mahal is a Temple Palace. Over the next two years I went through all th e references and was convinced of his assertion. My paper Taj Mahal- Simple Analysis of a Great Deception was appreciated by some prominent European scholars in 1980.
Dr V V Bedekar of Thane [India] started a historical quarterly named itihas patrika in March 1982. He published my paper on Taj Mahal in the first issue of the quarterly. He also published my extended paper as a booklet in March 1986.
In 1981 my research went deeper. I asked myself, " Were the British scholars just a third neutral party who were misled by the prolonged misuse of Hindu buildings as Mosques and Tombs and were not cunning enough to see through chauvinistic Muslim claims ?
Or did they know the truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments all along but had, for political reasons, vowed to hide the truth ? "
By the end of 1981 I prepared an eighty page dossier on the subject. When I placed the information in a chronological order I was surprised at my findings. There was a British conspiracy of suppression of truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments over the last 200 years. The main personalities involved either knew each other and/or referred to works of each other. As the time passed by new information came to light which confirmed my findings. Some important, contemporary events were added to give the rea ders a better picture of the times. These may be ignored if reader is not familiar with them.
The Chronology was serialised in the itihas patrika during September 1983 and September 1985. It is now being made available as a thesis, with some modifications and additions to the original series.
My Architect friends M/s Paithankar and Pradhan suggested improvements to presentation and checked my typing meticulously. My wife Mrs Vinita and my daughters Vaidehi and Varsha supported me throughout. Dr Bedekar has made this publication possible. I am grateful to them all.
Period And Main Event
||1784 to 1853 : Rise of the British Power in India||
1 to 27
||1854 to 1875 : Aftermath of the Indian War of Independence||
28 to 51
|1876 to 1885 : Rise of Lokamanya Tilak||
52 to 73
|1886 to 1906 : High noon of the British Raj||
74 to 100
|1907 to 1921 : Age of Revolutionaries and Civil Disobedience||
101 to 127
|1922 to 1948 : India wins freedom||
128 to 158
|1949 to 1984 : Post Indian Independence||
159 to 202
|1784 to 1984 : Two hundred years in retrospect||
203 to 265
|The Great British Conspiracy||
266 to 298
PART I : 1784 to 1853 RISE OF THE BRITISH POWER IN INDIA
On 15 January, Asiatic Society of Bengal was founded in Calcutta by 30 officers of the East India Company. Sir William Jones was the President for first ten years.
Charles Wilkins translates Bhagvad Geeta into English.
Thomas Daniell and his nephew William Daniell, two English painters visited India at the request of the East India Company. They made several paintings and sketches of various scenes of daily life in India and of objects of interest such as temples. They visited Taj Mahal in January 1789. After visiting many other places they returned to England in 1794.
Charles Wilkins translates Hitopadesha from Sanskrit into English.
Lt-Col William Henry Sleeman was born. He is well known for his book Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official published in 1844.
The French Revolution.
Sir William Jones translates Shakuntala the famous drama by Kalidas, from Sanskrit into English. The Calcutta edition was followed by two London editions within the space of three years.
November/December : Thomas Twining, an eighteen year old employee of the [English] East India Company visited Taj Mahal, Agra and Delhi. [Sir William Jones, the second Englishman who learnt Sanskrit, Mahadaji Shinde and Anandibai of Peshwa family die.]
Thomas and William Daniell published Oriental Scenery - 24 views taken in 1789-90. Plate no. XVIII shows the principal gate leading to the Taje Mah'l. The description reads, " The Taje Mah'l is a mausoleum of white marble built by the Emperor Shahjehan in the year 1631, for his favourite Queen [but no name is given].....The Emperor also lies interred here "
The book Oriental Scenery contained only two minor views of Taj Mahal. Daniells were probably criticised for not showing the mausoleum in greater detail. They therefore published two good views and a plan of Taj Mahal in the booklet Views of the Taje Mahe l at the city of Agra in Hindoostan taken in 1789. The plan shows minute details of the Taj complex and the Tajganj market on the south side of Taj. The main question is - who prepared it ? Daniells were painters and had neither the time nor skills for pr eparing the plan. It has been drawn to a scale which seems to be 5 1/2 inches to 1000 foot [R.F 1/2185]
On the plan Daniells name various structures. They also give the following information :
River Jumna 500 Guz in width. A Guz is 2 ft 9 inches. The breadth of the river is not in proportion to the Scale.
A marble platform 19 ft high on which is erected the Taje Mahel.
The so called Jawab is described as " A building corresponding in general form with the Mosque." The word Jawab is not used. In the booklet accompanying the plan we find :
p 3 " This majestic edifice stands on the Southern bank of the River Jumna, and was erected by the Emperor Shah Jahan as a Mausoleum for his favourite wife Mumtaza Zamani. ..... Stretched on an immense basement 40 feet high and 900 in length. ...."
p 4 " ... the dimensions of which ( i.e. whole complex ) are about 3000 feet in length, and 900 in width, and its whole area is enclosed by a strong wall."
p 5 " ... The building on the right with three marble domes is a Mosque; the one on the left, though similar in its general form, differs in its internal arrangement and decorations, having been appropriated to the accommodation of visitors of distinction ..."
p 7 " This Mausoleum was begun to be built in the fifth year of the Emperor Shah Jehan and the whole completed in sixteen years four months and twenty one days, at the expense of 9,815,426 Rupees 13 Annas 3 paisa. The Emperor it is said, intended also to have erected a Mausoleum of corresponding magnificence for himself on the opposite side of the river, which is more than a quarter of a mile wide, and to have connected them by a bridge of white marble. ..."
Moreover, in the plan, in place of the tomb of Satiunnisa Khanum we see the tomb of Futtehporee and in place of the tomb of Sarhani Begum we see the tomb of Akabarabadee. [This is also confirmed by Fanny Parks. See events of 1850] This raises the question. " How did the historians decide that these tombs belong to Satiunnisa Khanum [South-West corner] and Sarhani Begum ? [South-East corner]
Historian Yadunath Sarkar tells us, "......Akbar made it a rule that the concubines of the Mughal Emperors shall be named after the places of their birth or the towns in which they were admitted to the harem. Hence, we have ladies surnamed Akbarabadi, Fat epuri, Aurangabadi and Udaipuri....." [Ref : Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and Other Historical Essays by Yadunath Sarkar, published by M.C.Sarkar & Sons, 1912, page 46]
About 150 ft north of the above two tombs, we see apartments for female attendants to Ladies of Rank and surrounding these apartments are several pawn [i.e. paan] bazars. [What is their purpose in a tomb ?]
A treaty was signed at Bassein between the East India Company and the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II.
The English capture Agra from Shinde [Scindia].
James Fergusson, son of an Ayrshire doctor, and Sir Henry Miers Elliot were born. Fergusson became a pioneer of History of Architecture. Elliot became famous for his works History of India as told by its own historians.
Sleeman arrives at Calcutta to join the Army of the East India Company.
Captain Taylor of the East India Company carries out some repairs to Taj Mahal.
The ninth edition of the English translation of Tavernier's Travels in India was published. [22nd edition of the original book in French was published in 1810].
The title of the first edition, published in 1677 is - The Six Voyages Through Turkey etc. In the first edition, in part II - Travels in India, Tavernier says on page 50, "....of all the Monuments that are to be seen at Agra, that of the Wife of Cha-jehan is the most magnificent; [Note : Tavernier does not give her name.] He caus'd it to be set up on purpose near the Tasimacan, to which all Strangers must come, [so] that they should admire it. [Shahjahan, a grief-stricken emperor, wanted to make an exhibition of his sorrow !] The Tasimacan is a great Bazar, or Market-place, compos'd of six great Courts, all encompassed with Portico's; under which there are Warehouses for Merchants; and where there is a prodigious quantity of Calicuts vended. The Monument of this Begum, [ Who?] or Sultaness, stands on the East-side of the City upon the River-side, in a great place enclosed with Walls. .....You enter into this place through a large Portal: and presently upon the left hand you espy a fair Gallery, that looks towards Mecca ; wherein there are three or four Niches, wherein the Mufti comes at certain hours to pray....On the top there is a Cupola, little less magnificent than that of Val de Grace in Paris; it is cover'd within and without with black Marble, the middle being of Brick." [Note : Tavernier's information is quite correct. The dome is made up of 13 ft 6 inches or 4.12 metre thick brickwork, the marble is 6 inches or 150 mm thick and is used as a lining only.
1. Archaeological Survey of India Report for the year 1936-37, p 3
2. Report on Repairs to Taj Mahal, Agra by the Indian Water-proofing Company 1943, p 6]
" Under this Cupola is an empty Tomb, for the Begum is interr'd under the Arch of the lowest Platform. The same change of Ceremonies which is observed under ground, is observed above. For they change the Tapestries, Candles and other Ornaments at several times and there are always Mollahs attending to pray. I saw the beginning and compleating of this great work, that cost two and twenty years labour, and twenty thousand men always at work; so that you cannot conceive but that the Expence must be excessive . Cha-jehan had begun to raise his own Monument on the other side of the River; but the Wars with his Son, broke off that design, nor did Aurangzeb, now reigning, ever take any care to finish it. There is a Eunuch who commands two thousand men, that is en trusted to guard not only the Sepulcher of the Begum, but also the Tasimacan." [Note : Tavernier is obviously writing before 1666. Shahjahan died on 22 January 1666 in internment in the Red Fort of Agra and was buried in Taj]
" When you come to Agra from the Dehly, you meet a great Bazar; near to which there is a Garden, where the King Jehanguire, Father of Cha-jehan lies interr'd." [Note : This is utterly wrong. Jehangir died in October 1627 and is interred near Lahore, some 400 miles away. Tavernier was a French jewel merchant. He made seven voyages to India in the 17th century.]
Memoir of the War in India by Major Thorn was published. He describes the Tauje Mahal on pages 197 to 203. He says, p 198 "......The ascent to the Tauje from the garden is by a noble flight of marble steps leading to an extensive terrace about 60 ft high and 400 ft square in the centre of which stands the mausoleum."
p 200 "....The tomb of the emperor has an inscription in Persian but that of his partner, has one in the Hindoostanee language."
p 202 ".....The door at the grand entrance was originally of jasper, but this valuable relic has been taken away by the barbarous Jauts, who also plundered the place of as many precious stones as they could easily pick out. .......This celebrated work whi ch was begun within a few months after the death of the sultana, took 11 years in building and as many more were occupied in adding to its ornaments." [i.e. it took 11+11 = 22 years as told by Tavernier.]
p 203 ".....the whole of which ( costly stones ) were placed under the direction of the most able artists and occupied the labour of 20000 persons. The mere expense of the workmanship amounted to no less than a sum of 96 lacs of rupee, about =A31 million. F or the protection of the place and to keep it in order, a company of artillery and a battalion of infantry were constantly kept on the spot. [All this for the protection of a mausoleum ? and that too of a beloved wife of a benevolent king ?]. .....It was the intention of Shah Jahan to have erected a similar structure for himself on the other side of the river opposite to the Tauje Mahal; and which was to have been joined to it by a magnificent bridge of marble; but though the ground was enclos ed, and some progress was made in the foundation of the building, the design was frustrated by the clouds of rebellion ......The name of the amiable woman was Arjummed Banoo which according to oriental usage was altered on her elevation [elevation to wha t ?] to that of Moorutaz Zumanee, signifying the paragon of the age, but afterwards this also was changed to Nourjehan or the light of the world." [Note : Nourjehan was the step mother of Shahjahan, not his wife.]
[Our comments : Major Thorn visited Taj Mahal in 1803-04 when the English captured Agra. He repeats all the information given in Tavernier's book, but does not say so. Almost all the visitors from this time onwards have done the same. The word Taj Mahal is mentioned for the first time in Major Thorn's book.]
British missionaries were allowed to spread Christianity in India under the rule of East India Company.
Sleeman becomes a Lieutenant in Bengal Army.
Alexander Cunningham was born. He reached the rank of Major-General in the Army of the East India Company. He was in charge of the Archaeological Survey of India during 1860-65 and 1870-85.
East India Company at war with Nepal.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the Muslim separatist was born.
History of India by James Mill was published.
The English defeat Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II
Max Muller was born in Dessau, Germany. He became a famous professor of Sanskrit at All Souls College, Oxford.
First Anglo-Burmese War. Arakan and Tenasserim provinces were annexed by the East India Company.
H.G.Keene, younger and Dadabhai Naoroji were born. Keene joined the Indian Civil Service in 1847. Naoroji was affectionately called The Grand Old Man of Indian Politics, by Indians.
December - Col. Hodgson of the Bengal Army arrives at Agra for measuring various dimensions of the Taj Mahal and other buildings and determine the relationship between the Guz and the Inch.
Bernier's travels in the mogul empire was translated by Irving Brock. [ editions 1891 and 1914]. Bernier was a French Physician who travelled in India during 1659-67.
On page 272 we find A LETTER TO MONSIEUR DE LA MOTHE VAYER; AND DETAILS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE GREAT MOGUL'S COURT AND OF THE MANNERS AND GENIUS OF THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. ( The letter extends to page 340 ) Written at Delhi the 1 st of July 1663.
Bernier says, pp 333/4 ".. The Dutch have a malt factory in Agra, in which they generally keep four or five persons.... I do not believe the Dutch will follow the example of the English and abandon their factory at Agra"
p 334 " I shall finish this letter with a description of the two wonderful mausoleums, which constitute the chief superiority of Agra over Delhi. One was erected by Jehan-Guire in honour of his father Acbar; and Shah-Jehan raised the other to the memory o f his wife Taje-Mahil, that extra-ordinary and celebrated beauty......"
p 336 " The last time I visited Taje Mahil's mausoleum I was in the company of a French merchant. ...."
p 337 " This walk or terrace is wide enough to admit six coaches abreast; it is paved with large and hard square stones, raised about eight French feet above the garden; and divided the whole length by a canal faced with hewn stone and ornamented with fou ntains placed at certain intervals."
" After advancing twenty-five or thirty paces on this terrace, it is worth while to turn round and view the back ..."
" Resuming the walk along the main terrace you see before you at a distance a large dome, in which is sepulchre and to the right and left of that dome on a lower surface you observe several garden walks covered with trees and many parterres full of flower s."
pp 337/8 " When at the end of the principal walk or terrace besides the dome that faces you, are discovered two large pavilions, one to the right, another to the left; both built with the same kind of stone, consequently of the same red colour as the firs t pavilion .... I shall not stop to speak of the interior ornaments of the two pavilions, because they scarcely differ in regard to the walls, ceiling, or pavement from the dome which I am going to describe. ... From the middle of this space you have a good view of the building which contain the tomb, and which we are now to examine."
p 338 " This building is a vast dome of white marble nearly of the same height as the Val De Grace of Paris and encircled by a number of turrets, also of white marble, descending the one below the other in regular succession. The whole fabric is supported by four great arches, three of which are quite open and the other closed up by the wall of apartment with a gallery attached to it. There the Koran is continually read with apparent devotion in respectful memory of Taje Mahil by certain moolahs kept in t he mausoleum for that purpose. The centre of every arch is adorned with white marble slabs whereon are inscribed large Arabian characters in black marble. ... Every where are seen the jasper and hyacinth and or jade, as well as other stones similar to those that enrich the walls of the Grand Duke's chapel at Florence, and several more of great value and rarity, set in an endless variety of modes. .... Even the squares of white and black marble which compose the pavement are inlaid with these precious stones in the most beautiful and delicate manner imaginable."
p 339 " Under the dome is a small chamber, wherein is enclosed the tomb of Taje-Mahil. It is opened with much ceremony once in a year and once only, and as no Christian is admitted within lest its sanctity should be profaned, I have not seen the interior, but I understand that nothing can be conceived more rich and magnificent."
p 340 " It only remains to draw your attention to a walk or terrace, nearly five and twenty paces in breadth and rather more in height, which runs from the dome to the extremity of the gardens. From this terrace are seen the Jumna flowing below a large ex panse of luxuriant gardens - a part of the city of Agra - the fortress - and all the fine residences of the omrahs erected on the banks of the river."
[Note: The book was first published in French in 1670, second edition in 1671. Four editions were published in Amsterdam between 1672 and 1710, five in Lay Haye between 1671 and 1725, one in Frankfurt in 1672-3, one in Milan in 1675. English translations were published in London in 1671, 1672, 1676 and 1684]
Sleeman was promoted to Captain.
Narrative of a Journey Through the Upper Province of India by Rt.Rev.Reginald Heber; Lord Bishop of Calcutta, was published. In volume I pages 589-90 he tells us: " January 13, 1824....I went to see the celebrated Tage Mahal.....The surrounding garden, which as well as the Tage itself is kept in excellent order by Government ... The Tage contains, as usual a central hall in which enclosed within a screen of elaborate tracery are the tombs of Begum Noor-Jehan Shahjahan's beloved wife, to whom it was erected and by her side of the unfortunate Emperor himself.......The Jumna washes one side of the garden and there are some remains of a bridge, which was designed by Shahjahan with the intention, as the story goes, to build a second Tage of equal beauty for his own separate place of internment on the opposite side of the river.
Lord Bentinck was appointed Governor General of India (till 1835).
Indians were allowed to join the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Taj Mahal was mentioned for the first time under AGRA in the 7th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica [E.B.] The information on Taj Mahal as given in Bishop Heber's book of 1828 is repeated. [First edition of E.B. was published in 1768.]
Taj Mahal was put on sale as a scrap by the Governor General Lord Bentinck. [News item in the newspaper John Bull of Calcutta of 26th July 1831]. The highest bid received was for 1.5 lakhs of rupees or about =A315,000 at 1831 prices.
Journal of a Tour in India by Captain G.C.Mundy was published. He made some tours in India as an A.D.C. to Lord Combermere, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He describes Taj Mahal on pages 54 to 57. He says :- " 8 January 1828.....In the evening we visited the far famed Taj, a mausoleum erected by the Great Emperor Shah Jahan over the remains of his favourite and beautiful wife Arjemund Banu or as she was surnamed Mumtaza Zemani" "......In many places the more valuable pebbles have been fraudently extracted, an act of sacrilegious brigandage imputed to the Jats who had possession of Agra for some time, and carried off to their capital Bhurtpore many of the extravagant bequest which Shah Jahan left to his favour ite city. Amongst other plunder they bore away, Sampson like, the brazen gates of the citadel of immense value which are supposed to be still buried in Bhurtpore, as we failed to discover them on our warlike visit to that fortress in 1826." [In other words, the English would have liked to take away those valuables themselves to England.]
" The dome of the Taj is about 250 ft high and is as well as the 4 minarets at the angles of terrace, entirely built of the most snowy marble. It was a work of 20 years and 14 days [Mundy invents these figures] and cost Shah Jahan the sum of 750,000 liv res and although it is said the king compelled his conquered foes [Who ?] to send marble and stone to the spot unpaid for. Had Shah Jahan lived long enough, he intended to erect a similar sepulchre for himself on the opposite bank of the river, and to c onnect the two buildings by a bridge " [Note : Livre was a French unit of money.]
On page 71 Mundy says, "...It is the custom among the Mohammedans to bury the body below and have two tombs in the story above."
Tours in Upper India by Major Archer, late A.D.C. to Lord Combermere was published. In volume I he says :
p 56 " .....January 7, 1828. Marched to Etimadpoor...... Agra is seen from this place.....The Taje looks well at this distance."
p 57 " January 8 ....Before crossing the river, visited a garden called the Rambaug, built by Noor Jehan the favourite wife of Shah Jehan."
p 59 "......Crossed the river Jumna by a bridge of boats ...On each side were fragments of fallen masonry, showing the ruins of a once vast and flourishing city."
p 60 "... Shah Jehan was the great patron of architecture of his time; the new town of Delhi and the Taje were also built by him."
p 69 "....Visited the Taje, the cemetery of Shah Jehan and his favourite wife Noor-Jehan (the light of the world)
- Alexander Cunningham arrives at Calcutta as a lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. His brother Joseph was also joined the army of the East India Company. Their father the Scots poet Allan Cunningham, had enlisted the help of his old friend Walter Scott in procuring commissions for both his boys..
- Christian missionaries from all over the world were allowed to spread Christianity in India under the rule of the East India Company.
Macaulay arrives in India as the Law Member of the Governor General's Council (till 1838)
- Coorg was annexed by the East India Company.
English becomes the official language in India under the rule of the East India Company.
- James Fergusson the pioneer of History of Architecture arrives at Calcutta for his business activities.
- Fanny Parks visits Taj Mahal ( January ). She was wife of a British customs officer stationed at Prayag.
Macaulay wrote to his mother on 12th October "... Our English Schools are flourishing wonderfully. In a single town of Hoogly, 1400 boys are learning English. The effect of this education is prodigious.....It is my firm belief that if our plan of educatio n is followed up, there would not be a single idolater in Bengal in 30 years hence......" [Ref : The Indian War of Independence 1857 by Veer Savarkar.]
Lt. Col. W.H. Sleeman visits Taj Mahal.
Alexander Cunningham works as an A.D.C. to Governor General Lord Aukland (till 1840 ).
Queen Victoria comes to throne in Britain.
Cunningham carries out archaeological excavations at Sanchi.
During the famine relief work, the British authorities demolished the remains of old palaces upstream of Taj Mahal and even blasted out the foundation to construct Strand Road.
James Fergusson visits various caves in India and makes sketches of the rock cut temples.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab dies. English were busy for next 10 years trying to capture his kingdom.
Photography was invented.
James Fergusson was elected Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
History of India by Mountstuart Elphinstone was published [Elphinstone was the Resident in Poona : 1811-1818, then Deccan Commissioner and later on Governor of Bombay : 1819-1827.] Taj Mahal is described on page 602. This book was later prescribed as a s tandard textbook for the examination of the ICS and in the universities in India.
- Justice M.G. Ranade, a moderate leader was born.
Alexander Cunningham, Lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers, writes to Col Sykes, one of the Directors of the East India Company, "..... ( such explorations ) would be an undertaking of vast importance to the Indian Government politically, and to the British public religiously. To the first body it would show that India had generally been divided into numerous petty chiefships, which had invariably been the case upon every successful invasion; while, whenever she had been under one ruler, she had always repe lled foreign conquest with determined resolution. To the other body it would show that Brahmanism, instead of being an unchanged and unchangeable religion which had subsisted for ages, was of comparatively modern origin and had been constantly receiving a dditions and alterations; facts which prove that the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed..." [Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume VII of 1843. The letter was written from Aligarh on 15th September 1842 and read at the society on 3rd December 1842.
William Henry Sykes (1790-1872 ) served in India with the East India Company. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the company in 1840, became deputy chairman in 1855, chairman in 1856. Member of Parliament, President of Royal Asiatic Society, 1858].
Abu Imam, a Pakistani Muslim historian comments, "... Buddhism and its archaeology was therefore to be studied for the cause of promoting Christianity. For a systematic study of Buddhism, however, the first requisite was a survey at Government cost." [Alexander Cunningham and Indian Archaeology by Abu Imam, 1966. pp 40-41]
Archaeology is not therefore, the innocent looking diggings and preservation of old buildings. It does have political implications and as it remained in the hands of the British for too long, that created a havoc in India.
Memoir on the length of the Illahee Guz or Imperial Land Measure of Hindostan, a paper by Col.J.A.Hodgson of Bengal Native Infantry, late Surveyor-General of India was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. ( V olume VII of 1843 )
On page 50 he says, ".....In Taj Mahal I also procured from the Darogha [ attendant], a Persian manuscript, compiled by him, purporting to give the dimensions of several parts of the Taj in the guz measure; I measured many parts mentioned, but they gave discordant results; and in my report to the government, I observed that these operations were of no value. The manuscript was evidently the fabrication of an impostor."
p 51 " .... Being, then, in possession of this valuable description of the imperial buildings at Agra, I went there in December 1825, ..... for the purpose of making measurements of the three buildings, and a plan of the Taj ( scale 40 ft to an inch ), wh ich was effected under my superintendence ..... My object, of course, was knowing from the Shah Jehan Nama the lengths of different parts of the buildings therein described, in the Illahee guz to find their length in English measure; and from the average of the whole to attempt to determine the length of the guz in inches and decimal parts."
pp 52/3 " ... This part is in the marble kursi or platform, in the centre of which the mausoleum stands, as will be seen in the plan. .... The height of the walls which supports the platform is 18 feet: they are cased with white marble, as is the entire m ausoleum, both inside and out."
p 54 Here, Hodgson gives measurements of various parts of Taj Mahal, including " square rooms at the four cardinal points " in the cenotaph.
p 56 c. Description of the Taj and Masjids referred to in page 51. " ...the mosque and its counterparts, the mihman-khana [i.e. guest house], as well as the six octagonal pavilions of four stories high, ... compose a most harmonious whole. Models of the mausoleum and its platform, and the four minarets, have been exhibited in England. .... It is known that it is entirely cas ed with white marble, within and without. ...."
".....It must be remembered that this is not a temple but a tomb....."
On pp 57-63 Hodgson gives some Extracts from the Shahjehan Nama, by Muhmmad Salah Kumbo.
pp 58/60 Remarks on the Mausoleum at Taj Ganj. (This means that Taj Ganj existed before the mausoleum)
" His Majesty, in the fifth year of his reign, thought upon causing to be erected the Rauzah, .....had it planned near the Jumna, which river runs to the north of it. Its foundation was laid from whence water springs, and architects built of stone and mor tar, making it strong and level with the bank; ..." [False. the red sandstone is used for lining only, the construction is of brick.]
" .... a pinnacle in height 15 guz, made of pure gold, which glitters like sun, has been fixed on its very summit. ..." [At the end of his paper Hodgson concludes that 1 guz = 31.456 inches. Therefore 15 Guz =39.32 ft]
" On the four cardinal points there are four square rooms of two floors, each is 6 dirra square, consisting of 4 seats, each of which 4 1/2 dirra long, a tanhasa before every square room, and a pesh-tak, 16 dirra long, and 25 in height. In the four corner s there are four octagonal rooms of three stories, the diameter of each 10 dirra, containing 8 nishemans, the uppermost story of these places being octagonal dalans or halls, with arched roofs; on the three sides of these houses are pesh-taks on the outsi de, each 7 dirra long, 4 ditto broad, and 10 ditto high."
" To the eastward of the mausoleum, opposite to the Masjid, a mihman khana has been constructed, in all respects similar to the Mosque, except that the peculiarity of the arch, and the darsan of the place of prayer is left out."
In a footnote, Hodgson says that the mihman khana was for the accommodation of visitors who pay their devotion at the opposite mosque.
p 61 " In the side of this market-place pleasant serais were constructed, each in length and breadth 160 guz, containing an inclosure of 160 cells. Further on another chauk 150 long by 100 broad occurs, in the midst of which a bazar, and two other serais near it are built, where a great variety of piece goods and different sorts of property from foreign countries are bought and sold; besides these buildings, a great number of merchants have erected numerous houses and habitations of pakka work, so much so that the place has become a large city, by name Moomtazabad. All these royal buildings had taken twelve years to finish under superintendence of Mukrumut Khan and Mir Abdul Karim, and their cost amounted to fifty lacs of rupees....."
The paper is accompanied by a survey map of the Taj Mahal, scale 80 ft to 1 inch. Why Hodgson waited for 15 years to submit the paper, after having made the survey, is a mystery.
- Sind was annexed by the East India Company.
Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official by Lt.Col W.H.Sleeman was published. In Volume II page 27 he tells us that he visited Taj Mahal on 1 January 1836. Opposite page 28 are some pictures. They are :
The Taj Mahul or Tomb of Noor Mahal wife of Shah Jahan.
1. Photo of an engrave - normal view of Taj but without the water channel.
2. The Taj Mahul. This shows the two basement stories under the main terrace.
3. The Taj Mahul. Similar to 2 above but the two basement stories are not clearly visible. It is taken from a different angle and shows part of upstream palace wall.
4. The Taj from the river - It shows the two basement stories and two doors in the lowest story, for entry.
5. Marble screen of the tomb in the Taj.
6. Gateway of the Taj.
Sleeman tells us, p 31 " .....Mumtaz died in giving birth to a daughter.......Before she died, she made two requests - first that Shahjahan should not marry again after her death, second, that he should build for her the tomb which he promised to perpetua te her name .....Both her dying requests were granted." [Note : This is utter nonsense. Mumtaz was in pain for 30 hours. Moreover, her surviving daughters Jahan-Ara and Roshan-Ara were 18 and 16 years old respectively. Would she ask Shahajahan to promise to find them suitable husbands or would she ask for a beautiful tomb to be built for her ?] " Her tomb was commenced upon immediately."
p 32 "........Tavernier saw this building commenced and finished; and tells that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty-two years. The mausoleum itself and all the buildings that appertain to it cost 3,17,48,026, three crore, seventeen lakks, forty-ei ght thousand and twenty-six rupees, or 3,174,802 pounds sterling; - three million one hundred and seventy-four thousand eight hundred and two!" [Note : Tavernier does not give any figures of cost. Sleeman does not say where the figure comes from.]
pp 32/33 "... That on the left or west side, is the only one that can be used as a mosque or church; because the faces of the audience, and those of all men at their prayers, must be turned towards the tomb of their prophet to the west. The pulpit is alwa ys against the dead wall at the back, and the audience face towards it, standing with their backs to the open front of the building. The church on the east side is used for the accommodation of visitors, or for any secular purpose; and was built merely as a " Jowab " ( answer ) to the real one."
p 34 "....This magnificent building and the palaces at Agra and Delhi were, I believe, designed by Austin de Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit....He was called by the natives Oostan Eesau, Nadir-ol-Asur. ....
p 35 " He had finished the palace at Delhi, and the mausoleum and palace of Agra; when he was sent by the Emperor to settle some affairs of great importance at Goa. He died at Cochin on his way back; and is supposed to have been poisoned by the Portuguese ......."
"....Shah Jehan had commenced his own tomb on the opposite side of the Jumna; and both were to have been united by a bridge. The death of Austin de Bordeux, and the wars between his [Shahjahan's] sons that followed, prevented the completion of these mag nificent works." [Note : Sleeman just repeats what Tavernier says and adds his own fantasy about Austin de Bordeux.]
p 36 ".....We went all over the palace in the fort, a very magnificent building constructed by Shah Jehan within fortifications raised by his grandfather Akabar. ....The Marquis of Hastings, when Governor-General of India, broke up one of the most beautif ul marble baths of this palace to send home to George IV of England, then Prince Regent, and the rest of the marble of the suite of apartments from which it had been taken, with all its exquisite fret-work and mosaic, was afterwards sold by auction, on ac count of our government, by order of the then Governor-General, Lord W Bentinck. Had these things fetched the price expected, it is probable that the whole of the palace, and even the Taj itself, would have been pulled down, and sold in the same manner .... "
- Handbook of British India by J.H.Stocequeter was published. [Taj Mahal on page 230]
- Archaeological History of the Ruins of Delhi by Syed Ahmed Khan was published. For this work he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1864.
Travels in India by a German Captain Leopold von Orlich was published. He describes Taj Mahal in Volume II pages 44-49. He says :
p 44 "....My first excursion was to the Tauje Mahal or the Diamond of Seraglios, the most beautiful edifice in India. It is situated a mile to the south of the city, close to the Jumna and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan, in honour of his beloved cons ort Mumtaz Mahal."
p 45 ".....We rode along the bank of the river by a road made during the famine in 1838 and passed the ruins in which the nobles resided during the reign of Akbar the Great. Here are walls so colossal and solid that they are preserved in spite of all the violence which they have suffered. We saw pieces ten feet thick united by a cement which nothing but gunpowder can break up."
p 47 "....We do not know who was the architect of this building of magic beauty, but there is much reason to suppose that an Italian was placed by Shahjahan at the head of the undertaking and was loaded by him with great honours." [What honours ? and whi ch buildings did this mysterious Italian Architect design and supervise before being entrusted with Taj Mahal ? Capt. Orlich does not even hazard a guess. Every historian has ducked this simple question ever since.]
"...Perhaps he was one of those who are buried in the Catholic Cemetery, and who according to the date on the tombstone, lived there at that time ". [All wishful thinking. No names on the tombstones ? No inscriptions saying that this person was entrusted with the building of a mausoleum of Shah Jahan's wife ?]
" 11 years were employed in building it and as many more were required for finishing the ornamental parts." [i.e 11+11= 22 years as told by Tavernier.]
" The Emperor Shah Jahan intended to build a similar sepulchre called Mathob Baug, for himself, on the opposite side of the Jumna and to connect both by a splendid marble bridge. He had already commenced the building, ruins of which are still to be seen, when a rebellion broke out and he was deposed at an advanced age by his son, Aurangzeb. His remains are deposited near those of his consort, in an equally costly and beautiful marble sarcophagus." [Note : The original book in German was translated into English by H.E.Lloyd, who refers to the kind and valuable assistance of Col. Sykes, a Director of the East India Company and a personal friend. Captain Orlich was an officer in the German Army. As t here was peace in Europe, he thought of fighting with the British in the Afghan War. He approached the Kaiser, who wrote to Queen Victoria. She made the necessary arrangements. Captain Orlich arrived at Bombay on 8 August 1842, by that time the Afghan war was over. He then toured India and was honoured by Governor General Lord Ellenborough. The word of such a man would be taken as true by the later day readers. But he just repeats what he read in Tavernier's book. See events of 1811.]
Travels in Kashmir and the Punjab by Baron Von Hugel was published.
The first Anglo-Sikh War.
Sir H M Elliot printed the first volume of his "Supplement to the Glossary of Indian Terms."
H G Keene joins the Indian Civil Service.
Sir H.M.Elliot becomes Secretary to Government of India in the Foreign Department.
Max Muller joins All Saints College, Oxford as a lecturer.
Picturesque Illustrations Ancient Architecture in Hindoostan by James Fergusson was published.
Joseph Cunningham was appointed political agent in Bhopal
Lord Dalhousie, was appointed Governor General of India. [till 1856]
Satara State was annexed by Dalhousie.
H.G.Keene becomes President of the Archaeological Society of Agra [till 1882]
S.N Banerjee, a moderate leader from Bengal was born.
Second Anglo-Sikh War. Alexander Cunningham was involved in the fighting. Punjab was annexed by Dalhousie.
Sir H M Eliot published the first volume of his "Bibliographical Index to the Historians of Mohammadan India "
Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque by Fanny Parks was published. ( Reprint by Oxford University Press 1975 ) Her husband was a customs officer at Prayag ( Allahabad ). She travelled extensively in North India during her stay of 24 years. She visited Taj Mahal in January / February 1835.
On page 220 of volume I she says,
".....From the Calcutta John Bull; July 26th 1831. The Governor-general has sold the beautiful piece of architecture, called the Mootee Musjid, at Agra, for 125,000 rupees ( about =A312,500 ) and it is now being pulled down! The taj has also been offered for sale! but the price required has not obtained. Tw o lacs, however, have been offered for it. Should the taj be pulled down, it is rumoured that disturbances may take place amongst the natives."
Fanny Parks remarks, " If this be true, is it not shameful ? ..... By what authority does the Governor-general offer the taj for sale.... It is impossible the Court of Directors can sanction the sale of the tomb for the sake of its marble and gems..."
In chapter XXX she describes the monument in detail. She says, " 1835, January. I have seen the The Taj Mahul. ......The dome of the Taj, like all domes erected by Muhammadans, is egg-shaped, a form greatly admired, the dome in Hindu architecture is alway s semicircular ; and it is difficult to determine to which style building should be awarded the palm of beauty."
" This magnificent monument was raised by Shahjahan to the memory of his favourite Sultana Arzumund Banoo, on whom, when he ascended the throne, he bestowed the title of Momtaza Zumani ( the most Exalted of the age ) "
" On the death of Shahjahan, his grandson Alumgeer placed his cenotaph in the Taj, on the right hand, and close to that of Arzumund Banoo.......[ Note : Alumgeer was the title assumed by Aurangzeb, who was the son of Shahjahan and not his grandson.].....F ormerly a screen of silver and gold surrounded it; but when Alumgeer erected the tomb of Shahjahan by the side of that of the Sultana, he removed the screen of gold and silver, and replaced it by an octagonal marble screen." [But why ? Fanny Parks does not say.]
"...The crypt is square ......The small door by which you enter was formerly of solid silver; it is now formed of rough planks of mango wood."=
" It is customary with Musulmans to erect the cenotaph in an apartment over the sarcophagus, as may be seen in all the tombs of their celebrated men." [But why in India only ?]
" Sultana Arzumund Banoo died on 18th July 1631.....To express his respect for her memory, the emperor raised this tomb, which cost in building the amazing sum of =A3750,000 sterling." [Fanny Parks does not say how she obtained this figure. In 1832 Capt. M undy quoted a figure of 750,000 livres.]
"....but we have no record of her beauty, nor have reason to suppose that she was beautiful. She was the niece of one of the most celebrated women - Noor-jahan. Many people seeing the beauty of the building confuse the two persons, and bestow in their ima ginations the beauty of the aunt on the niece."
" [In the cenotaph chamber] There was also a chandelier of agate and another of silver; these were carried off by the Jat Suruj Mal, who came from the Deccan and despoiled Agra." [Note : The Jats did not come from the Deccan; Agra is a part of Jat terr itory.]
" It was the intention of Shahjehan to have erected a mausoleum for himself, exactly similar to the Taj on the opposite side of the river and the two buildings were to have been united by a bridge of marble across the Jumna. The idea was magnificent; but the death of Shahjahan took place in 1666, while he was a prisoner..."
" The stones were prepared on the opposite side of the Jumna, and were carried off by the Burtpoor Rajah and a building at Deeg has been formed of those stones. A part of the foundation of the second Taj is still standing, just opposite the Taj Mahul...."
[Note : Unfortunately, for all these visitors, one corner tower of the so called second Taj stands even today, complete with the pinnacle; just compare it with the Taj towers and the stupidity of the legend becomes obvious. There is no comparison between the two towers. Moreover, why would one start the second Taj by building a corner tower first and not the main building ?]
" The Kalun Darwaza or great gateway, is a fine building; the four large and twenty-two similar domes over the top of the arched entrance are of white marble; the gateway is of red granite, ornamented with white marble, inlaid with precious stones."
" From the second story is a fine view of the Taj itself, to which it is directly opposite.......There are four rooms in this gateway in which strangers, who are visitors, sometimes live during the hot weather."
" Feb 1st ... All the buildings in the gardens on the right are fitted up for the reception of visitors, if strangers; they are too cold at this time of the year, or I would take up my abode in one of the beautiful burj ( turrets ) next to the river." [Note : Why are these rooms never shown to the visitors ?]
" The two jamma khanas are beautiful buildings, on each side of the tomb, of red stone....One of them is a masjid ....one of the burj near the masjid contains a fine ba'oli ( well )....The four burj at each corner of the enclosure are of the most beautifu l architecture. ..... From the one [i.e. one burj] generally, used as residence by visitors to the tomb, the view of the Taj, the gardens, the river, and the Fort of Agra beyond, is very fine."
" Beyond the Great Gate, but still within the enclosure of the outer wall of the Taj, are the tombs of two begams, erected by Shahjahan. The sarcophagus over the remains of the Fathipooree Begam is of white marble .... On the other side the enclosure, to correspond with this tomb, is that of the Akbarabadee Begam......"
" Can you imagine anything so detestable ? European ladies and gentlemen have the band to play on the marble terrace, and dance quadrilles in front of the tomb!...."
THE KALUN DARWAZA
".....At the end of this fountain-adorned avenue, you ascend a hidden staircase of twenty solid blocks of marble....the interior of Taj, which is an octagon, surmounted by a dome seventy feet in diameter." [The diameter is in fact 58 ft.]
GROUND PLAN OF THE TOMB OF THE TAJ
........Strangers, when visiting the Taj, are so much occupied in viewing the centre apartment, which contains the tombs, that they often omit visiting the eight rooms that surround that central apartment; four of which a re square and four of octagonal form; [But what is their purpose ?] on the upper floor are eight rooms of a similar description. [Once again, what is the purpose of the upper floor ?] The ground plan annexed I copied from an original plan, shown to me at the tomb." [There is a name in Persian of the person who prepared the plan. It shows the cenotaph and chambers around it, abov e the marble terrace, but no staircase to the upper floor.]
" It covers an area of two hundred feet square, upon a terrace of white marble, about twenty ft above the one of stone, and three hundred ft square. At each angle is a minaret upon an octagonal base, eighty ft in circumference; the bottom of the shaft is twenty ft diameter, so that I should think the minarets are at least one hundred and fifty feet high.....The whole extent of the lower terrace is, I should say, full nine hundred feet; the pavement is inlaid with black and white marble."
" The Taj was twelve years in building; two lakhs per annum were allowed to keep it in order and support the establishment of priests and servants. It is situated on the western bank of the Jumna, three miles from the town of Agra; it is nineteen yards sq uare; and the dome about seventy feet in diameter.........It is impossible to estimate the cost; the most valuable materials were furnished by subadars of provinces." [Fanny Parks now makes up her own story.]
" Tavernier, who saw this building commenced and finished, asserts that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty-two years. The mausoleum itself, and all the buildings that pertain to it, cost 3,17,48026 rupees; or =A33,174,802. .....Colonel Sleeman, in h is " Rambles of an Indian Official " remarks, - " This magnificent building, and the palaces at Agra and Delhi, were, I believe, designed by Austin de Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit..."
- Alexander Cunningham carries out Archaeological excavations in Sanchi.
1852 : Second Anglo-Burmese War.
1853 : 8th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica mentions Taj Mahal in volume II p 244, under AGRA. It tells us, "....The name of this distinguished personage was Arjammed Banoo, which according to oriental usage, was changed on her elevation [elevation to what ?] to that of Mumtazee Zumanee signifying the paragon of the age."
Nagpur State was annexed by Dalhousie.
Bombay-Thana railway was opened.
Sir Henry.M.Elliot dies. His Historical works were published 14 years later. See events of 1867.
Bayard Taylor, an American gentleman visits Taj Mahal.
Summary of Events and Explanatory Notes
The East India Company was trying to get control of whole of India. The period from 1784 to 1853 is full of their various wars, with the Marathas, the Burmese, the Gorkhas and the Sikhs. The insatiable, rapacious lust for plunder and loot of the English, made Chengiz Khan and Nadir Shah look like cowboys. They even wanted to demolish the Taj Mahal! Their crooked methods, audacity to break unilaterally their own promises, assurances and treaties, racist, arrogant and contemptuous behaviour, was soon to res ult in the eruption of the Great Revolt of 1857.
Major General Cunningham was aware of the enormous political importance of Archaeological Survey of India, way back in 1842. Was it just a coincidence that he was made in charge of that department when it was started in 1860 ? Even a Pakistani Muslim Abu Imam recognised in 1966 that Cunningham wanted to use Archaeology for promoting Christianity in India.
As the East India Company conquered various territories their officers wrote history of those territories. It was the victors writing about the vanquished. Here are some examples :
1818 Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the East India Company.
1824 A Memoir of Central India by Major General Malcolm was published.
1826 History of the Marathas by Capt Grant Duff was published.
1829-32 Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan by Lt Col James Todd was published.
1843 Sind was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
1851 History of Sind was written by Lt R F Burton of Bombay Army.
1849 Punjab was annexed by Lord Dalhousie. History of Sikhs was written by Joseph Cunningham, brother of Major General Alexander Cunningham.
Macaulay made it quite clear that English system of education was a means of spreading Christianity in India.
5.1 Tavernier said, " He [Shahjahan] caused it to be set up on purpose near the Tasimacan, to which all Strangers must come, [so] that they should admire it, the Tasimacan is a great Bazar, or Market-place."
Why should a King erect a mausoleum near a busy / noisy place like a Bazar or Market ?
5.2 Name of the lady of the Taj
Tavernier the contemporary traveller of 1666 and Daniells ( 1795 ) do not give the name of the lady at all.
Bishop Heber ( 1828 ) and Major Archer ( 1833 ) say that the lady was Noor - Jehan, when in fact she was Shahjahan's step-mother.
Major Thorn says the lady was Arjumand Banoo, whose name was changed first to Moorutaz Zumanee and later to Nourjehan.
Capt Mundy says the lady was Arjumand Banu.
Fanny Parks says her name was Arjumand Banoo, it was later changed to Mumtazee Zemani.
Sleeman calls her Mumtaz.
5.3 Col.Hodgson, told us in 1843 that: The Persian manuscript in the possession of the custodians of Taj Mahal was the fabrication of an impostor. But the same manuscript has been used as an evidence by many authors!
Even in 1825 the so called Jawab was used for accommodation of visitors.
It seems that he was also aware of the true nature of Taj Mahal. That is why he says, " when viewing this monument it must be remembered that it is not a temple but a tomb."
He also refers to " Mausoleum at Taj Ganj " as mentioned in Shah Jahan Nama of Muhmmad Salah Kumbo. The term clearly implied that Taj Ganj existed before the death of the lady. It was not built as a township for workers.
His vital remarks have been ignored with the connivance of the historians.
5.4 Taje Mahal
It is curious to note that all the visitors who had been in India for a short time use the term Taje Mahal. Thomas and William Daniells ( 1795 ), Major Thorn ( 1813 ), Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Major Archer ( 1833 ), Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) This is quite contrary to their attitude to the pronunciation of Indian words, even today. Taje Mahal could easily have been the corruption of Tejo-Mahalaya as Prof Oak suggests.
5.5 Fanny Parks had noted 8 rooms around the cenotaph, and an upper floor with similar 8 rooms. Hodgson also noted an upper floor.
5.6 Both Fanny Parks and Hodgson have noted Baoli Burj. It has no relevance in a mausoleum.
5.7 Tavernier has stated that main dome is constructed of brickwork. ( marble is used for lining only ). Hodgson had noted this fact.
5.8 Fanny Parks said, " It is customary with Musalmans to erect the cenotaph in an apartment over the sarcophagus, as may be seen in all the tombs of their celebrated men." Captain Mundy ( 1832 ) has noted Mohammedans burying bodies on ground floor and erecting cenotaphs on first floor.
Why should this tradition arise in India only ?
5.9 Fanny Parks said that various rooms inside the Taj were used by visitors to stay. Why were they built ? There are plenty of rooms outside the Taj in the courtyard.
5.10 Army for protection of Taj
Tavernier said - There is a Eunuch who commands two thousand men, that is entrusted to guard not only the sepulchre of the Begum, but also the Tasimacan.
Major Thorn said - For the protection of the place and to keep it in order, a company of artillery and a battalion of infantry were constantly kept on the spot.
But why was this protection necessary for the tomb of beloved wife of this popular emperor who ruled like a father and whose reign was said to be golden and peaceful ?
There were palaces between Agra Red Fort and Taj Mahal. Ruins of these palaces were noted by Major Archer (1833) and Capt Von Orlich ( 1845 )
Tavernier said that Jahangir's tomb was in Agra, on the way from Delhy when in fact he is buried in Lahore. Tavernier gives extensive family history of the Mughals.
The travellers' accounts are nothing but mere repetition of what they read in Tavernier's book. But only Col. Sleeman and Fanny Parks refer to him.
As these visitors came from the high society, their accounts were taken as true by others.
9.1 20,000 men worked for 22 years
It seems quite clear that the travellers had read Tavernier's book before visiting Taj Mahal, but only Sleeman and Fanny Parks were honest enough to say so. Others just repeat the story told by Tavernier as if it were an established fact. Some modify the story to suit their thinking :
Major Thorn says, " This celebrated work...took 11 years in building and as many more were occupied in adding to its ornaments. " i.e. it took 11 + 11 = 22 years as Tavernier says. Capt Von Orlich repeats what Major Thorn said.
9.2 Tavernier tells us of the legend of the second Taj or Shahjahan's intended tomb on the other side of the river.
Major Thorn said in 1813 - Shahjahan's intended tomb was to have been joined to Taj Mahal by a magnificent bridge of marble. Others have followed the leader. Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Captain Godfry Mundy ( 1832 ), Col Sleeman ( 1836 ), just say that the two tombs were to have been joined by a bridge. Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) and Fanny Parks ( 1850 ) say the two tombs were to have been joined by a marble bridge. Bishop Heber said that there were some remains of a bridge. Capt Von Orlich said that Shahjahan's own tomb was called Mathob Baug.
9.3 Deathbed request of the lady
Col Sleeman said in 1844 - Before she ( Mumtaz ) died she made two requests...second that he should build for her the tomb...to perpetuate her name. Both her dying requests were granted.
9.4 The figures of cost like the legend , are purely imaginary.
Major Thorn says Rs 96 lakhs or =A3 1,000,000 Captain Mundy says 750,000 livres or =A3 56,250 Col. Sleeman says Rs 3,17,48,026 or =A3 3,174,802 Fanny Parks is not sure. Once she quotes a figure of =A3 750,000 but towards the end of the chapter on Taj Mahal she repeats Sleeman's figure of 33,174,802.
9.5 Tavernier mentions no architect. Again all the names are purely fictitious.
Col.Sleeman says, " I believe it was designed by the Frenchman Austin de Bordeaux."
Captain Von Orlich says, " There is much reason to suppose that an Italian was placed at the head of the undertaking "
Fanny Parks repeats what Col. Sleeman says.
They all ducked the basic question : What buildings did this mysterious Architect design and supervise before being invited to build the Taj Mahal ?
9.6 False accusations : Looting by the Jats
Major Thorn said in 1813 - " The doors at the grand entrance was originally of Jasper, but this valuable relic has been taken away by the barbarous Jats, who also plundered the place of as many precious stones as they could easily pick out."
Capt Mundy said in 1832 - " In many places the more valuable pebbles have been fraudently extracted, an act of sacrilegious brigandage imputed to the Jats who.... ...carried off the brazen gates of the citadel of immense value."
Fanny Parks said in 1850 - " [In the cenotaph chamber] there was also a chandelier of agate and another of silver, these were carried off by the Jat Suraj Mal."
It is interesting to note, however, that Tavernier the contemporary traveller, does not mention any silver doors or golden railings etc. He notes the large cotton market in Tascimacan and throughout his book he talks about nothing but money, money, money.
Fanny Parks says, " Formerly a screen of silver and gold surrounded it; but when Alumgeer erected the tomb of Shahjahan by the side of that of the Sultana, he removed the screen of gold and silver, and replaced it by an octagonal marble screen."
Badshahnama was not published till 1867! Only in 1896 Latif tells these details. How did Fanny Parks learn about the screen in 1850 ?
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